Ask the Veterinarian/itchy skin

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Question
is there a prescription skin moisturizer for dogs? for long haired dogs? and does it have side effects? thanks.

Answer
We really don't call them moisturizers, but we call them skin conditioners. They come as sprays that you brush in to the hair and onto the skin surface. There are about 50 different ones available.  Some contain humectants called alpha hydroxy acids, which accelerate the growth of the skin to remove the old, dead skin cells and replace them with healthy new skin cells.  Others contain ceramides, which tend to restore the skin's barrier function.  When dogs have microscopic "holes" in their skin, allergens have easier access to the cells under the skin surface.  The ceramides tend to block up the holes preventing allergic symptoms.  Many of the skin conditioners also contain some hydrocortisone, which helps to soothe inflammed skin and helps to quell the itching. You should check with your vet to see which kind of skin conditioner may be right for your dog.

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Dr. Louis N. Gotthelf

Expertise

Dermatology and ear diseases of dogs and cats

Experience

I am the author of "Small Animal Ear Diseases; An Illustrated Guide" published by W.B. Saunders. I have over 25 years of clinical experience with a special interest in dermatologic conditions and ear diseases.

Organizations
American Academy of Veterinary Dermatology

Publications
Veterinary Forum
Veterinary Medicine
Waltham Focus

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